By Kingsley Fanwo
I didn’t relate with him when he was in the bank. I didn’t know much about his banking days but a friend who worked closely with him told me Mr Edward Onoja was a tenacious banker, a strategy incubator who handled his banking beats like he handles most of his life assignments with an adumbrated design to resist and remove every failure-possible factor.
In the build up to the governorship primary elections in 2015, I worked closely with him. I had the opportunity and privilege to be at his strategy sessions. I took instructions directly from him on executing our PR Strategies.
One thing I noticed was that CEDO is an incurable optimist. I won’t rush to assume how he got such a powerful tool for success. He was coming from a sector where failure is not pampered. He was strategic, aggressive and a methodical recruiter of excellent and suitable minds to achieve set goals. CEDO is no friend of failure. He hates failure and would do anything good not to fail.
Maybe I should have started with his faith in God. CEDO has a relationship with God that many do not understand. If doubt is faith in failure, he doesn’t have such faith. He has an unassailable faith in the power of God to bless every good thought and every good work. When he hears from God, he holds tenaciously and faithfully to the promises. That got him the nickname, Oracle of the New Direction. His faith is infectious.
Having worked with him closely for over four years now, I know how tough CEDO is both from the inside and outside. He would confront you when he sees any trace of things that could attract failure. But he will defend you the next minute against any act of oppression and injustice. He doesn’t try to be what he is not. He exudes and expresses his personality at every turn.
One of the reasons he is loved today is his humanity. He is a humanitarian per excellence. His tough looks disappear when he needs to save lives. People running life-saving NGOs will have a lot to write about this in the future.
Again, he is a detribalized person. As a matter of fact, pre-2015, there was a general belief that it would be difficult to collapse the tents of tribalism in Kogi State. It was rife. But CEDO has been the poster boy of the GYB Detribalization Ideology. He has led the lines to prove to the world that under Governor Yahaya Bello, where you come from doesn’t determine what you get.
I have heard many encounters with him that have healed me of my fears. The recent Memorial for the late Prof. Pius’s Adesanmi further reinforced my belief in CEDO as one who doesn’t discriminate. Pius was an Okun. But CEDO didn’t see that. He saw Pius as a Kogite. He paid tribute to him. He supported the program with everything possible and had to rush home from Abuja to be physically present. This CEDO.
So when I read a piece that someone was calling him a Bastard, I was frantically searching for other meanings of the word.
It means we have actually left some people behind. Those who used ethnicity to create impervious hard-pans for 16 years couldn’t comprehend how an Oma Igala would be celebrating another Kogite of Okun extraction who ruled the world. They had forgotten that, yes, Pius raked in encomiums even in death for writing soul-searching pieces; EDWARD ONOJA IS WRITING HIS OWN IN ACTS AGAINST DISCRIMINATIONS AND ETHNIC BIGOTRY.
As a journalist, I had covered elections in this State. I know of one of the opposition candidates who is having murder cases hanging on his neck today. The same thug once attacked a one-time Majority Leader of the House of Assembly right in Government House under the cover of a Governor.
He killed for fun and each time he constructed a river of blood, he was heavily compensated. He would then take a fraction the blood money to cause a friction of idiocy, trying to bribe the god of nemesis.
Houses were burnt in Igalaland and families were thrown into unending sorrows and lamentations.
The emergence of CEDO has deconstructed the old norms and challenged the “tired takes” of the infidel few who banked on ethnic bigotry to unleash misrule and terror on the people.
The administration CEDO serves has done projects in the East, including electrifying the communities of the ethnic champions who were the Architects of 13 Sorrowful Years of Backwardness. Today, they enjoyed power because they now have a son who cares about the people.
Roads that were abandoned by the Ethnic Champions have now been done while some are under construction. Development in the East has been massive. Even the Christian CEDO facilitated the construction of a massive Mosque in his Local Government Area.
Children of not-known people were brought in to work for their people and it is working fantastically.
The new rage is a product of the new age of a detribalized Kogi.
In the last general elections, the Igala people passed a vote of confidence on their representatives in this government. They won the Senate seat, won all the Reps seats and all the Assembly seats. The people used the opportunity presented by the elections to separate the past from the present. CEDO led the revolution effectively by empowering his people and enthroning a culture of inclusiveness. He has exposed the hypocrisy of the bigots.
Leadership is about trust. Leadership is about acceptance. You can’t be accepted by force but by responsible and responsive deeds. Ibro and Wada governed for a combined 13 years. CEDO was CoS for 3 and a half years. And in the Battle of February and March, the people queued behind the CEDO they trust! This is a statement of fact. They are genuflecting to the Master Strategist by choosing the wrong path.
Calling CEDO a hater of Igalaland and other derogatory things is unfortunate and unacceptable. He is what they wish they were while in power. He is good to his people and all people. He is strategic and has brought the people to the center of decisions that affect them. He is a great leader.
If the reason for calling him a bastard are the ones stated in the irresponsible and condemnable piece, I can boldly say now that we know who a bastard is.
CEDO is a factor they now fear. CEDO is a factor we love. CEDO is the leader who has shown absolute loyalty to the person and ideology of our Principal.
We understand their pains and fears. But they have to accept their fate. When they had the yam set, they boiled it and consumed all. What will they harvest in the future? Their self illusions are now bearing the fruits of ignominy.
May God bless CEDO.
Kingsley Fanwo is the DG Media to the Governor of Kogi State